People who’d never enjoy pornography (or admit it, anyway) proudly consume erotica with an intellectual sheen. Hence the sophisticated crowds flocking to the first week of Arizona Theatre Company's Venus in Fur, continuing through Sunday, May 18. Wonder what some of ’em had on under those nice suits and gowns.
David Ives' Tony-nominated two-hander is about power more than sex, though plenty of black leather, exposed milky flesh, and tantalizing threats of domination fly about as Thomas, a contemporary writer/director, conducts auditions for his adaptation of a novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch -- you know, the guy masochism's named after. Actress Vanda, arrives late and flustered, letting Thomas think he has the upper hand. (That's how we get your guard down, guys.) As Vanda wraps Thomas around her finger, when does acting segue into unalloyed seduction? A director-actor relationship’s fraught and twisted enough already.
For your seat ($40.50 to $72) to Friday, May 9's performance, 8 p.m. at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street, call 602-256-6995 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.